Real Madrid managed to win the most recent iteration of the Champions League, lifting the famous old trophy for a stunning 14th-time.
But their route to the final was not an easy one, with matches against some top teams a serious challenge that Madrid were just about able to overcome. With other clubs now making improvements to their squads this summer in a bid to take the trophy next season, it is likely that we will see a new winner of the competition this season.
Here, we take a quick look at what teams could lift the Champions League next season and what makes them favourites to do so - from their performances in last season’s competition to their business in this summer’s transfer window…
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Manchester City Odds: 5/2
Manchester City made the semi-finals of last year’s campaign, and they looked very likely to again be reaching a second final in two years. But despite a 4-3 lead from the first leg, Pep Guardiola’s side conspired to throw it all away in the final few minutes of the second leg in the Bernabeu - two late goals in quick succession from substitute Rodrygo stunned City and took the game to extra-time, where a Karim Benzema penalty gave Madrid a 6-5 aggregate lead, which they would hold on to and saw City yet again exit Europe in embarrassing fashion.
Despite losing key attackers Raheem Sterling and Gabriel Jesus in the summer, Pep Guardiola will have the prolific pair of Erling Haaland and Julian Alvarez to call on in the 2022/23 campaign. So far this season, Haaland has found the back of the net 10 times so far, whilst Alvarez has three in just five appearances.
City have come close yet fallen short in the past in this competition, with three agonising quarter-final exits to Liverpool, Tottenham and Lyon, and a loss to Chelsea in the final stopping City from getting their hands on the one trophy that has eluded them for many years. However, with the additions that they have made to their squad, it should be another strong run deep into the competition and so this could be the year that City finally go all the way and lift the famous old trophy.
Jurgen Klopp’s side managed to make the final last year, but it was not a happy night in Paris for the Reds as they ultimately lost the match 1-0 to Real Madrid, with a Vinicius Jr goal condemning them to their second Champions League final defeat within the past five years. But the fact remains that this is a Liverpool side who have reached three Champions League finals since 2018 - a seriously impressive feat, and we expect another impressive run from them in the competition this season.
Like Manchester City, Liverpool have strengthened their team by bringing in a prolific striker from the continent - Benfica's Uruguayan striker Darwin Nunez, (who scored 34 goals in 41 appearances last season) joined the Reds for a fee of around £64m + add-ons. Liverpool further added quality to their squad by bringing in two young players who have the potential to be starting for the first-team in future years – 19-year-old winger Fabio Carvalho and 18-year-old full-back Calvin Ramsay from Fulham and Aberdeen respectively.
Now after reaching three Champions League finals within the past five years, you would certainly back Liverpool to reach another one soon, and they should be regarded as a serious threat to any team with aspirations of also winning Europe’s premier competition this season. With the additions they have made so far and the fact that Mohamed Salah’s contract situation has now been resolved, we see no signs of this impressive Liverpool side letting up soon, and they are in with a serious chance of winning this season.
PSG only made the round-of-16 last year, with a shocking collapse against Real Madrid in the second leg seeing Mauricio Pochettino’s side once again exit Europe in an embarrassing fashion. Taking a 1-0 lead to the Bernabeu, which was supplemented by a second Kylian Mbappe goal just before half-time in the tie, the Parisians conspired to throw it all away by allowing Karim Benzema to score a second-half 17-minute hat-trick that they were never able to recover from.
PSG have started Ligue 1 like a house on fire, scoring 24 goals in six matches, amassing 16 points. It looks as though the Parisian outfit are now in full flow under the management of Christophe Galtier having looked dysfunctional under Pochettino last season.
PSG are in a similar situation to Man City in that their high-spending owners desire success in Europe's premier competition but have not been able to achieve It. A litany of embarrassing exits – like the 6-1 loss to Barcelona in 2017 and their away-goals rule exit to Manchester United in 2019, as well as a defeat in the 2020 final, has seen PSG never regarded as serious contenders for the top prize, but with their steadily improving form in the competition over recent years as well as their retention of Kylian Mbappe, this could be the year that the Parisians finally win the competition.
The German giants made the quarter-finals of last year’s competition, shockingly crashing out after failing to beat Spanish side Villarreal over both legs and suffering a narrow aggregate defeat. Arnaut Danjuma's first-half goal gave Unai Emery's side the advantage going into the 2nd leg at the Allianz Arena. An early second-half goal from Robert Lewandowski damaged the morale of the Spaniards and gave Bayern some hope, but Samuel Chukwueze wrote his name into club folklore with a breakaway goal two minutes from time to send Villarreal to their first semi-final since 2005-06.
The Germans have strengthened their forward line this summer by bringing in Sadio Mane from Liverpool and retaining Serge Gnabry’s services, ensuring that they will once again go into next season with a fearsome frontline. Bayern have also managed to bring in two top players from Ajax to supplement their squad - Noussair Mazraoui on a free and the highly-rated Ryan Gravenberch for around £16m.
Bayern are always a threat in this competition, with six wins to their name previously. They've won the competition twice in the last 12 years - breaking Borussia Dortmund's hearts with a 2-1 win in 2013 and then beating PSG 1-0 in the 2020 final – Bayern are a side that always progresses to the latter stages of the competition and are always a threat, so it’s likely that they could be the winners of this season’s competition.
Real Madrid managed to make last year’s final and come the full-time whistle, it was Los Blancos who lifted this trophy for an astonishing 14th time – Vinicius Jr’s second-half goal proving decisive in sealing the win for Madrid in Paris.
Carlo Ancelotti has strengthened his side by bringing in highly-rated midfielder Aurelien Tchouameni from Monaco for a fee of around £70m, and they have also nabbed centre-half Antonio Rudiger on a free transfer from Chelsea.
Being the most recent winners of this competition, you would certainly back Madrid to do it again, especially with the additions they made to an already seriously talented squad and the fact that they have previously also managed to win this competition multiple times in a row.
With Karim Benzema in scintillating form once again with five-goal contributions in five matches, who knows if anyone can stop them again.
Despite suffering an embarrassing group stage exit in the Champions League last season at the hands of Bayern Munich and Benfica, Barcelona could be strong outsiders for this season's competition.
Even though they had reported financial woes, the Catalonian club have strengthened their squad significantly, with the likes of Raphinha, Robert Lewandowski, Jules Kounde and more joining the side, whilst also retaining Frenkie de Jong despite a lengthy transfer saga.
Barca have managed to win this competition five times, four of those with Lionel Messi amongst their ranks, with the last time being in 2014/15.
Xavi's men have had a decent start to the current season, winning three of their first four La Liga matches and are priced at 14/1 to win the competition.
Borussia Dortmund’s odds may be high at 50/1, but, perhaps they are an outsider that could shock the competition as they did in 1997 when they last won it, and even when they were runners-up in 2013.
With a fortress of a stadium behind them in the Signal Iduna Park, the Black and Yellows will be looking to use every advantage that they can get having lost Erling Haaland to Manchester City in the summer, but, it must be noted that they have made some astute signings to replace the Norwegian.
Karim Adeyemi and Anthony Modeste will be tasked with the objective of replacing Haaland’s goals following moves from Red Bull Salzburg and FC. Koln. Adeyemi managed 23 goals and seven assists for Salzburg in all competitions last season, whilst Modeste who is a much more experienced campaigner at the age of 34 scored 23 goals in 35 appearances across all competitions.
Dortmund looks to have made strides to address their defensive woes too, having acquired Niklas Sule on a free transfer from Bayern Munich, as well as signing 22-year-old Germany international Nico Schlotterbeck from SC Freiburg to beef up their defence alongside the experienced Mats Hummels.
With other prodigious talents such as Jude Bellingham and Giovanni Reyna plying their trades at Dortmund, alongside experienced players such as Marco Reus, Julian Brandt and Raphael Guerreiro, could this be the perfect storm that sees them become champions of Europe once again?
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